Putting Wearables To Work in the Enterprise

By Johna Till Johnson
On Mar 25, 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

As my colleague, Nemertes Research Analyst John Arkontaky, recently wrote, enterprises are beginning to tiptoe into the world of wearables. Although a vanishingly small percentage of IT organizations supported wearables in 2013, early indications are that this percentage has grown dramatically in 2014.

And as John predicted, Google recently launched an Android-based developer platform geared towards creating wearable apps. The focus is on the wristwatch form factor, with voice activation. Google is reportedly working with consumer electronics manufacturers like HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, as well as a range of chip manufacturers and—interestingly—clothing manufacturers.

The focus is initially on consumer apps—but as I mentioned, enterprises are exploring the new form factor. We’re seeing particular interest from companies with outside field forces, like utilities and insurance companies. IT departments at sports teams, unsurprisingly, are on the cutting edge, as well.

If you work in the IT department of that kind of organization, what should you be doing to assess the potential impact of wearables? Some recommendations:

  • Have your developers engage with the platform. Get a head start uncovering what features and capabilities might be coming down the pike, and in what timeframe. 
  • f you’re a large or influential organization, suggest that an executive connect with Google to get a briefing. Many of our clients are working directly with Google, and having a potential executive sponsor on board with the agenda is a great way to generate momentum (and funding) for your project. 
  • Talk to your field teams, or better still, shadow them as they go through their jobs. They may or may not be able to proactively articulate ideas for you—but by learning more about their working experiences and challenges, you can probably pick up on a few ideas yourself. 
  • Keep reading. We’ll be covering this space extensively—and it’s quickly moving. So keep an eye on it.

Stay tuned. There will be plenty to learn in this space.